Introductory Psychology Topics and Student Performance: Where's the Challenge?

Andrew C. Peck, Rahan S. Ali, Max E. Levine, Robert L. Matchock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Conventional wisdom is that some topics in introductory psychology are more difficult for students than others. Such wisdom seems reasonable given mismatches between students' and instructors' expectations and variations in both instructor expertise and student motivation across topical areas. Five instructors pooled students' exam performance data to investigate topical difficulty. Data showed that students performed better on questions about social psychology, memory, consciousness, and development than questions about biopsychology and emotion. Discussion includes possible explanations and considerations for course planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-170
Number of pages4
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Psychology


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